Our four part series that discusses the Life Cycle of a Grape continues…
As the now-pollinated flowers drop their petite petals, a tiny, green sphere begins to emerge at the end of the stem. As these little grapes grow, bunches begin to take their familiar shape. Frost is still a concern, with vintners keeping an eye on the weather on an almost moment by moment basis. Once set, the fruit will begin to ripen.
At a certain point, the vigorous shoot growth that has occurred during the spring must be managed to ensure optimal grape production and ripening. A complex process, canopy management refers to a variety of decisions and actions related to leaf removal, vigor management, shoot thinning and shoot positioning. The goal is to achieve the perfect balance of shade, sunlight and air circulation around each grape bunch, which will promote optimal ripening. Vineyard workers often make more than 20 passes through a single row of vines each year, part of an artisan approach to agriculture.
Often called “green harvesting,” crop thinning refers to the dropping of unripe grape bunches that are not perfect and which may not be developing in an even pattern.